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Poorly Done “School Target” Essay

At this time, my long-range goal is to practice law. My personal goal for the next four years is to explore the wide range of courses offered in a liberal arts program. Preparation for law school will be my direction, but it will not limit my desire to explore other areas.

The curriculum within Boston College’s College of Arts and Sciences offers a number of law-related courses as well as the University Core program, which would fulfill my professional school prerequisites. The general education requirements coincide with my own intentions to explore the liberal arts. During my undergraduate years I would like to continue my interests in mathematics and French literature as well as delve into unexplored areas. Another aspect of the curriculum I found especially interesting is the PULSE program. In addition to the exposure to philosophy and theology, this program would give me the opportunity to go ”on site” to interact with the community. I particularly appreciate the opportunity to design an independent major with the help of faculty advisers. Also, I especially look forward to returning to France as part of a Foreign Study Program at the University of Paris.

There are substantial differences between Boston College and other colleges that offer a liberal arts program. Among these differences is the Jesuits’ superb reputation for excellence in education. The Jesuit influence is my guarantee of excellence within the faculty, the curriculum, and the student body. My father has often talked about the influence on him of having been educated at Jesuit institutions for 12 years. I, too, would like to be the product of the Jesuits’ strong commitment to teaching and to helping society. It is not so important that I be taught by Jesuits but that I would be surrounded by the Jesuit philosophy.

Boston is a perfect location for law-school hopefuls and law students. The internships, libraries, and other resources on campus and throughout the city offer invaluable advantages to Boston College students. The size of the university’s student body, the faculty, and the policy of interdisciplinary selection of minors are additional considerations that lead me to apply to Boston College. The faculty enjoy a reputation for not only being distinguished in their fields but also for being accessible and committed. I feel that this is an important factor for preparing for graduate school. In addition, since students are allowed to select courses from the other four schools, I would not be limited as I explore new fields.

Not all colleges place a priority on character in selecting their students. The fact that Boston College selects students who are concerned about others is important to me. I know that I will continue playing tennis during the next four years. The fact that Boston College has indoor and outdoor courts and a program which includes intramural and club sports, as well as tennis lessons, is very appealing to me.

I consider my undergraduate years as a preparation not only for law school but also for my personal enrichment. Fortunately, law school requirements coincide with my personal and career goals. Most law schools desire students with strong thinking and communicating skills. They value a diversified curriculum from undergraduate schools that have a reputation for excellence in education. My interest in Boston College’s College of Arts and Sciences comes from knowing that I will establish a rich foundation not only for graduate school but also for the rest of my life.

Comments

It is difficult to write an interesting essay about a place you have come to know from a catalog, from word of mouth, or from a short visit. It is even more difficult to imagine yourself attending a place you have yet to attend. This student at least tried to meet that double challenge head-on. Her essay makes clear that she took the time to study Boston College’s programs and course offerings, to learn something about its faculty, to weigh the advantages of its location, to consider how its curriculum fits in with her short- and long-term plans. But because all these things are necessarily abstract at this point in her life, the essay itself seems abstract, filled with generalities and clichés about exploring the liberal arts, appreciating the excellence of the faculty, and enriching her life.

To solve these problems, the writer needs to be straightforward and specific. If she wants to go to Boston College because she believes it is the best Jesuit-run liberal arts college in the Northeast, she should say so. And then—and this is the important part—she should explain why those traits mean something to her. What specifically has her father told her about his own Jesuit education that appealed to her or caught her interest? Is she looking forward to a first semester in which she takes courses of much wider variety than ever before—differential calculus and the history of Western philosophy on Mondays and Wednesdays, the arts of the Orient on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and French literature every morning at eight o’clock? Does she want to study in the Northeast because her family is nearby and she is not eager, as some students are, to put thousands of miles between herself and her siblings, who are not at all obnoxious and who have never once read her private journal aloud at the dinner table? In short, she needs to shift the emphasis of the question: It is not about Boston College, but about the girl who wants to attend it.

This topic tempted the writer to write vaguely about an experience she has yet to know and enjoy. She included too much and explored it too little. If she had given herself no more than three-quarters of a page for her response, she would have had to focus on the essentials instead of the indoor tennis courts. Then she would have increased her chances of writing a good essay.

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